Friday, 19 July 2013

“Is that a salami in your pocket, or are you just glad to see me?” HOW TO TELL IF YOU'RE ITALIAN

I write mob comedies.  Yes, I’m Italian.  Yes, I’ve been a Goddaughter, like the heroine of THE GODDAUGHTER.  Okay, maybe not exactly like.  But close enough that I can easily imagine what it would like to be a mob goddaughter.  The Christmas presents would be pretty decent, for one thing.

Besides, I can get my salami and mortadella wholesale in any deli in the Hammer (Hamilton.)  Did someone say working class?

Melodie’s rules:  How to tell if you’re really Italian:
 I1.  If  you absolutely cannot talk with your hands held down. Okay, not true. You can scream if they try to hold down your hands. And kick.
2 2.  If you have at least 2 cousins named Tony.  And one uncle.
3 3.  If you consider Pasta a vegetable. (It’s good for you!  Really.  Ask any Italian grandmother.)
4 4.  If you can listen to five conversations at once, in at least two languages, and answer back.
5 5.  If you have four first names (Melodie Lynn Theresa Anne…)

Okay, it gets a little tougher now….
6 6.  If you regularly faked a long penance after confession just so the boys would think you were way hot.
7 7.  If your family does not consider a ‘heater’ something you turn on in winter.

And how to fake it…

8 8. Cry when Pavorotti sings the FIFA soccer anthem.
9 9. Ask for Brio and Orangina in restaurants.  Gasp loudly if they don’t have it.
1 10. Kiss everybody.  All the time.  Left cheek, Right cheek. (THEIR left cheek, right cheek.)
1 11. ALWAYS wear designer shoes.  Especially when shopping for shoes.  If you don’t have a special wardrobe just for shopping, you are not Italian.
1 12. Long hair, ladies.  At least until sixty.
1 13 Wine is a vegetable.  It’s good for you.

I hate to end a list at 13.  We Sicilians are superstitious.  So here’s one last way you can tell you’re Italian:
Jewelry. Lots of it.  The plane nearly came down with the weight of gold those expats wore coming back from Roma last trip.  Heard in all lines at Customs: “What, this old thing?”

THE GODDAUGHTER'S REVENGE, coming Oct 1! Available for preorder now at Chapters/Indigo and Amazon. Check the dedicated page (in the menu above) for buy links.


  1. Okay, I am not Italian, even if I do talk with my hands even when I'm on the phone and no one can see me. However, you have given me an idea about how you know you're an urban Canadian.

    1. You don't think spring rolls, antipasto and butter chicken need to go in separate meals.

    2. Maple syrup isn't just for breakfast.

    3. Your family tree includes at least three ethnicities. (And you think ethnicity can be made plural.)

    4. At least one of your friends or relations have Italian roots and are able (or claim to be able) to put a hit on that ex who is stalking you.

    Great post Mel!

    1. Laff! Love your addition, particularly the first one, which I have experienced with you.

  2. I knew I was IN with my Italian mother-in-law when she saw me and my husband approaching in the hallway and yelled out, "Yippee! Here my two lovely fatties!" I'm proud to say that I was the only daughter-in-law who took the "mangi, mangi" as an edict that one must seriously follow. Homemade bread, pasta, and salad with tons of oily dressing - I wolf it all down. Happily, and with hardly any sauce on my face, since I'm good at using serviettes, even the ones my mother-in-law had recycled from the last family dinner. Dessert! I am a master. I can eat any kind of dessert even after a seven-course Italian wedding meal. Not only that, I am always equipped with plastic bags in the trunk so that after any sort of shower, I can go home with more leftovers than anybody else. Even though I'm sure I'd be svelte and athletic had I married someone British, I married into an Italian family and dammit, I do my best to fit in.

    1. Oh Cath, you have me grinning and nodding with glee. I love your dessert master - I went to the same school.